Jake and Josh are the co-founders of TooFitUSA.com, hosts of the Too Fit Podcast, and creators of the carefully crafted workout supplements “Moxie” and “Rally”. We love that they’re pushing the boundaries of health and quality nutrition in transparent and inspirational ways. These guys are the epitome of committed to fitness and we’re happy that they agreed to interview with us.
TFM: Tell us a bit about your background(s) as far as fitness and nutrition. What do your training regimens generally look like these days?
Jake: Well, nothing out of the usual. I grew up playing baseball and football pretty competitively and continued through high school. During high school play, I sustained a couple injuries that led to a handful of procedures and derailed any further plans of playing. However, it was during those surgeries and long hours of rehab that my passion for health and fitness was truly refined. I went on to graduate from Texas A&M University with a degree in Biomedical Science, pursuing a career in medicine. After a few years I realized medicine was not in the cards for me, but the years of study and preparation set me up for success in the world I’m in now. It feels as though Too Fit was waiting for me all along, I just couldn’t see it at the time.
Josh: I was very fortunate in that my parents instilled the importance of health and fitness in me at a young age. I grew up playing the typical sports such as baseball, basketball, and football. My parents were and still are very health conscious people. I realized early on how food affected my performance on and off the field of play. I began diving in to sports nutrition and supplements in high school and quickly realized the lack of quality in the marketplace. I began to geek out on nutrition and soon began making my own supplements. I continued to play sports through high-school and ended up playing golf in college where I majored in entrepreneurship and marketing. After college, I played professionally on the mini tours for a few years while still educating myself and learning the science and intricacies of sports nutrition. I quit touring once my wife entered a post-graduate program and I began figuring out how I could combine my love of business with my knowledge of nutrition. Once I met Jake it was clear that our shared knowledge and desire to enhance the way people viewed and consumed supplements would lead us down an exciting and life altering path.
We make an effort to schedule our days where we can work out together and hold each other accountable. This mainly consists of working in the morning hours, leaving our workout time as a treat once the work is done. We focus on the core lifts that improve overall strength and power: power cleans, deadlifts, variations of the squat, bench press, and the Olympic lifts. The work is distributed across 4 days per week, with a push-pull, upper body-lower body, split routine in mind (ex: lower body push: squat, upper body pull: weighted pull-ups). These days are normally followed by a 5-10 minute Crossfit style metcon.
In addition, we incorporate as much diversity in our training as possible. We strive to run at least 2 miles at a high-intensity pace three days per week, yoga as active recovery 1 day per week, tennis, softball, as well as swimming on occasion. We love using training devices such as the Elevation Training Mask, weighted vests, and sleds for resistance running, rope climbs, and various odd object training. Have to keep it entertaining! We tend to get bored easily!
We are currently training for our first 70.3 Ironman in Galveston, TX on April 10. We have been incorporating some more time on the bike and in the pool to get prepared. We also have a decent amount of Spartan races scheduled this year. We are always looking for ways to stay competitive and keep it fun.
TFM: What has been your biggest struggle/failure as far as fitness and/or business? How did you get through it?
Jake: At this stage in my life, the 2 shoulder surgeries and 1 knee surgery have been the biggest obstacles as far as sport and fitness are concerned. The only way I worked through them was creating the mindset and craving to play again and be better than I was before. Of course you need a great team of support around you, and a healthy dose of mom’s cooking doesn’t hurt! As far as business, the biggest struggle has been having an idea in your head and trying to turn that idea into reality. Having reality match the depiction in your head is sometimes an unfair judgement, but Too Fit is now something even greater than I could have imagined.
Josh: Luckily, I have able to stay relatively healthy through my entire sports journey. However, I had plenty of struggles while traveling and playing professional golf. It can be quite frustrating to go from the top 5 after day 1 to missing the cut by a shot after day 2. The thing I love about golf over other sports is that it is all on you. There is no one to return the ball, no team on which to rely, no do over’s. The adversity I faced on the golf course has helped me tremendously in business. The journey has made me realize that a sport or a business does not, and should not, be your identity. Although people may identify you with that sport or business, how you carry yourself and how you treat others is your true identity. Sorry to get kind of deep there but I think it is something that can help others. I really believe in the power of meditation and mindfulness, not the woo woo kind, just focusing on the breath and practicing detachment. It is very easy to become emotional in business, especially when you have poured everything you have mentally and physically into creating something new. The practice of reflection, journaling, and mindfulness has really been a foundation for me.
We also have some really awesome mentors. We are truly blessed to be surrounded by some incredible people and we would highly recommend anyone venturing into a business of any kind to find a great mentor or mentors.
TFM: Why did you guys decide to create Moxie Natural Pre-Workout and Rally Natural Post-Workout?
We have both been avid supplement users since our teenage years and were always looking to gain an edge in our performance. However, we both went down a couple different paths. Jake used to be a supplement junkie of sorts, willing to try anything under the sun. When one of the products ended up leaving 3 athletes dead that he was currently taking, Jake actually put down supplements all together and the research began.
Josh on the other hand, carefully and meticulously studied and experimented with individual supplements for years. Countless times his kitchen has been covered in bulk-ordered ingredients, all in attempt to create the preeminent, most complete products not currently available on the market. Jake soon joined in the fun.
After a workout and over a beer on Josh’s back porch, we vented about our common craving for products that specifically fit our needs and ones that we could trust wholeheartedly. We were also constantly asked what products we would recommend or what we were currently taking by friends and family; we knew they longed for the same thing. Most of the supplement marketplace has been saturated with marketing machines, not health companies putting the consumer first. Simply put, people deserved better.
Coupled with our knowledge and backgrounds, we felt it was our duty to create these products that are complete, high-quality formulas, lacking nothing in the way of ingredients or dosages, and make them available for every active individual.
TFM: What were some of the manufacturing hurdles you had to jump to create this kind of product?
One of the biggest hurdles in this area was finding a manufacturer that provided us with a level of confidence and comfort. We needed to find someone that would be able to deliver the exact product we had in mind. When all of your formulas are 100% unique, like ours, it is a much longer process than running a product that has been made before, which is known as private labeling. Everything must be triple checked. This process took several months of conversation, pricing, visiting the facilities, and finally sampling. We would recommend anyone who is thinking of entering the world of supplements, please vet out your suppliers and do your due-diligence. It will pay off greatly and save you a lot of potential headaches in the end.
TFM: What do you envision for the future of your products? Would you like to see them in stores? Or are you just focusing online? Do you have more products in mind?
As of right now, our efforts are split roughly 50/50 between online sales and wholesale accounts. In the last two months, we have hit the road on average 2-3 days per week, pounding the pavement, knocking on gyms’ and clinics’ doors, spreading our message, and sampling our first two products, Moxie and Rally. We firmly believe in playing the long game. In doing so, we focus on quality over quantity. We want to truly have an impact on people with our products and want to build a community with our customers. Having said all that, retail is definitely a goal as long as it is the right opportunity. The last thing we want to do is grow to big too fast.
Long-term we will absolutely be creating more products in the sports nutrition space and potentially products in other categories. Between the two of us, we have new product ideas nearly daily. Now, that doesn’t mean they’re all good! We do have some real game-changers in the works, but we’re keeping those close to the vest at the moment!
TFM: What does the future hold for you guys? Where would you like to take Too Fit USA?
We are currently located in College Station, Texas, but have plans to move ourselves and Too Fit Headquarters to Fort Worth, Texas this coming summer. Josh’s wife, Caroline, received an offer for a management position for Baylor-Scott and White All Saints, so he has to go! As for Jake, he is third-wheeling it as usual!
Jokes aside, we envision our office space in Fort Worth as a full human optimization pad, set inside a rebuilt downtown building with exposed red brick throughout. Our offices will have standing treadmill desks, places to hang upside and decompress the spine at any time, a full mobility and recovery area with hot-and-cold contrast pools, Normatec boots, etc. Jeff, you and Top Fit Mag are welcome anytime! (TFM: Thanks!)
Now…Our big, hairy, audacious goal for ourselves and Too Fit is a continuation of what we’re all about: the highest quality products, with proven and sound ingredients, made with transparency and trust, that lead to results people cannot deny. This will eventually lead to a day where people pick up a product off the shelf, and are forced to put it down because it’s not a Too Fit product; they feel like they cannot trust it. It may take 5 years, it may take 10 years, it may take our lifetime, but that’s our mission and it is the driving factor behind every move and decision we make.
TFM: Great stuff. To wrap up, what is the best way to see what you guys are up to and to get in contact?
You can find us through any one of our social media accounts. We have pages with a more personal touch, where we provide a glimpse into our daily lives. Then we have accounts where you can follow the company itself.
Our personal account handles (Instagram and Twitter) are @TheTooFitGuys.
Our business account handles (Instagram and Twitter) are @TooFitUSA.
Facebook is a mix of both business and our personal lives and you can find us at www.Facebook.com/TooFitUSA.
We love connecting with people via social media, however, the easiest way to get in touch with us and have a conversation is through email at Info@TooFitUSA.com.
John-Paul Ashton is a rising Ironman-level triathlete from the UK who’s taking his game to the next level in a few different ways. He’s busy with not only triathlon training but he’s also started a triathlon-related business that features innovative products designed to help athletes improve their transition and race time. That’s all while holding down a day job.
TFM: Thanks for joining us for the interview John-Paul. So how did you first get into triathlons?
JPA: I began 7 seasons ago when my brother and I challenged each other to try to complete Woodhall Spa Triathlon – which is my parents home town. This happened in the pub. Then years later in the same pub we signed up to Ironman together which was scariest thing I’ve ever done. Once I completed it I felt I could do anything.
TFM: Good things can happen in the pub. What do you count as your biggest accomplishment so far?
JPA: Completing Ironman Austria in under 13 hours without dying which was a real worry on the start line. Other great accomplishment is coming down from 105kg (231 lbs) to close to 80kg (176 lbs) now – and having so much more energy because of it.
TFM: Wow, congrats on the Ironman time, not dying, and the dramatic weight loss. Can you share how you lost all that weight?
JPA: Losing weight was a marriage between wanting to get better at triathlon and just being healthier. So it was a conscious decision to work harder at a better diet so that I could trainer harder and longer. And this has worked out – I got very close to breaking a 40 min 10km last year, and I hope to break through that goal by a few minutes by the end of the year.
TFM: Currently, what do you feel is one of your strengths while racing?
JPA: The part where I gain time advantage – transitions. As a project manager and small business owner I have to be mega organised to fit everything in. This led me to get frustrated with what’s out there to transport your kit and inventing Triathlonbox.
TFM: What exactly is the Triathlonbox?
Triathlonbox is a new triathlon transition box intended to help reduce stress on the day of your triathlon. The design is focused around compartmentalization, everything you need is where you need it, exactly when you need it. From leaving your home, through to entry into the water and post-race recovery. I basically designed Triathlonbox to solve the frustration of box juggling on race day and losing focus on getting in to the water ready to race. In short, it helps you be your best on race day. (Check out the Triathlonbox here).
TFM: What is your biggest goal right now in racing?
JPA: I really want to be a Great Britain Age Grouper. It’s expensive, and that’s one reason I’m launching Triathlonbox to help pay for training.
TFM: What do you feel sets you apart among triathletes?
JPA: The fact that I would give up winning a race to help a fellow triathlete in trouble. Not that I have any chance of winning a race at the moment!
TFM: Well you have to start somewhere. Any triathletes that really inspire you?
JPA: There are so many amazing triathletes that I wouldn’t be able to say a name. I think that from Olympic triathlete to Ironmen (& women) I see them and think that they are inspiring youngsters to keep fit and be well rounded young people. Which is amazing, anyone that can help youngsters into this amazing sport and keep them fit inspires me.
TFM: What’s the plan for this year’s triathlons?
JPA: This year is about getting out to new events and building on my race weaknesses to become stronger for the 2016 season. I then hope to be able to try to qualify for team GB in 2017.
TFM: Are you modifying your training in any way these days?
JPA: I’m going to start using https://trainxhale.com/ this year to give me some structure to my training, hopefully meaning I’ll be a stronger triathlete. If I can afford it I’ll then try to get a coach at the end of 2015 to give me a structured winter training plan possibly our local triathlon coach (http://thetriathloncoach.com/coaches/simon-ward/).
TFM: Sounds good. Wrapping up, what is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
JPA: Enjoy it – if you don’t enjoy the training, the pain, the achievements, the new friends you will make then triathlon is not for you.
To learn more about John-Paul, and place a preorder for the Triathlonbox (if you’re in the UK), go to http://www.triathlonbox.co.uk/triathlonbox-pre-order.
For our first interview here at Top Fitness, we wanted to talk to someone who, like us, is new to the game but coming strong out of the gates. Michael Bradbury is a 24 year-old triathlete and soldier from the United Kingdom representing the Great Britain AG team. He’s been racing in triathlons for only two years but is quickly making big headway internationally. With goals of joining the Elite tiers of the professional triathlon world, his palpable energy, drive, and enthusiasm is destined to get him there. Michael was kind enough to join us for an interview.
TFM: Tell us a bit about your background.
MB: I was brought up in Cannock, Staffordshire just outside of Birmingham, England. I lived there until I decided to join the Armed Forces at 16 years old. After successful completion of training I was posted to Germany and served there for 6 years. I have just recently been posted back to the UK.
TFM: How did your triathlon journey begin?
MB: In 2012, I raced for the Army Cycling Development Team and got hooked on road racing. When a member from my regiment needed an extra person to form a triathlon team, my name was put forward. At the time, I made it clear that I had a distinct lack of swimming ability. Also, my life saving skills in the water were nil. Regardless, I could bike and everyone can run to some extent. So I joined the team and raced my first triathlon at an Army event. I placed 3rd Male in my Corp. I also gathered enough points to win First Team. I was hooked! If only I could swim…
TFM: That’s a strong start. What’s your biggest accomplishment in your triathlon career so far?
MB: To date my biggest accomplishment is placing 14th at the Sprint Distance Triathlon National Championships in my age group and being selected to race for Great Britain at the International Triathlon Union Sprint Distance – Triathlon World Championships in Edmonton, Canada after a mere 10 months of training.
TFM: What part of your racing is strongest?
MB: My strongest point is my bike split on a qualification race in Nottingham. I came in 1st for my age group and 7th out of over 998 athletes.
TFM: Do you have any advice for those who need help improving their swimming?
MB: As far as swimming goes, again, consistency is key, as it takes 80,000 revolutions of a single movement to cement it into muscle memory. A big mistake that novice swimmers make, myself included, is dropping the lead hand too early rather than gliding forward and recovering enough with a high elbow and swift hip rotation.
Try using this drill to help master your technique:
Catch Up (Superman Position): Do not pull thru until hand has stretched past the other outstretched hand. Use a slow movement, catching as much water as possible.
This drill alone over a 3-week period took 11 secs off my 100m PB and average splits. This drill works!
TFM: Good advice. What is your biggest challenge right now in racing?
MB: My biggest problem I currently have is plantar fasciitis. It’s a condition on the underfoot which is so painful it sometimes hurts to walk, never mind full time training.
TFM: What do you do to combat that problem?
MB: There are plenty of methods I use to keep this at bay:
1. Foam rolling the side of the tibia (shin bone)
2. Get a foot hold (this keeps your foot on permanent stretch for a few minutes at a time)
3. Strength and conditioning is key. I do lots of calf raises to strengthen the associated area
4. Rest and recovery are just as important as training. Without this our muscles do not grow or recover.
MB: I think what sets me apart from other triathletes is my nervous approach. My wife will second this. The day before an important race, I’m a wreck, and I mean I can’t sleep, drink, eat (yes, eat). It’s a nightmare. I can’t relax. It’s just of those things but I’m working on it.
TFM: Who are you inspired by as a triathlete?
MB: My inspirations, like many others, are the Brownlee Brothers merely for their hard work, dedication and natural talent. However there are many more Elites I look up to who haven’t quite got the natural talent but work extremely hard to keep their professional status and Elite license.
TFM: What is the next big race you’re training for?
MB: I’m currently training for both the Inter-services standard distance and the European Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships in Geneva, Switzerland (ETU) both in July.
TFM: Are you doing anything different to train these days?
MB: The way I’m training is vastly different to last year as training last time was really minimal. This year being consistent with training, as I mentioned before, and plenty of swimming. I’m working on my weaknesses while strengthening my bike split and sorting my technique out on my run. I’m hoping the early morning and late nights will pay off.
TFM: Best of luck with the training and the races. To wrap up, what is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
MB: Best advice I have ever been given is consistency is key. Also, wear your wetsuit the right way round – it’s more aero. ☺
Want to know more? You can get involved and support Michael’s journey here at PledgeSports.org.